The inventors of the great things that we now take for granted such as electricity, computers and mobile phones were in fact much more creative than we give them credit for. Unfortunately there are those who try to cash in on these innovations for profit but, in all actuality, the true inventors are largely forgotten. Often, their works will be misinterpreted as having been created by someone else, when in reality it was the original inventor doing most of the work. Let’s look at some of the great inventions and innovators that shaped our modern society.
There are many great inventions that have been produced by inventors without having to pay royalties. An invention is simply a new or unique device, technique, composition or process created by someone else. Sometimes the invention may be a revolutionary improvement over an existing product or process or just a new method for producing an item or a result. Some famous and influential inventors include Sir Richard Branson, hips’ famed founder; Jim Rogers, author and aerospace engineer; Henry Ford, the automotive innovator; and Ray Kamprad, owner of the giant grocery store chains. All of these men deserve to be recognized as one of the greatest and most influential inventors in the history of the world.
Another type of great inventor is the one that brought an invention before the public but did not obtain a patent for it. These innovators often serve as advocates for their creations, sometimes spending a great deal of money to get their inventions on par with what the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) require. In fact, sometimes the cost of filing an invention can cost more than the creation itself. Additionally, sometimes these innovators do not receive credit for their inventions. If an individual is working on an innovation that does not meet the USPTO requirements, they should make sure that the USPTO has it covered.
On the flip side, some inventors that obtaining a patent for an invention are criticized for “breaking the law” by doing so. This is often the result of what is called an “invention lock” in which a patent is granted to a party without them being able to move forward with their business model. For instance, a person who obtains a patent for a machine that allows a garage to open may be prevented from ever selling or trading the garage door opener. A similar example occurs when an individual obtains a patent for an idea only to prevent others from using the idea. These types of lawsuits are often very difficult and expensive to defend in court.
There are also other cases where a patent is granted but no product or process utilizing the invention ever bears any resemblance to the invention described. Such is the case with a patent for a method for producing a car. The fact is that an invention cannot be used to create a product until someone buys or rents the product. Without first using the product and paying for it, an inventor has nothing to protect their creation from others.
For these reasons, inventors must understand that protecting their invention requires them to perform “all the actions necessary to make sure that their invention does not violate another’s rights in the way that they would have had to perform the same act had they taken the first steps required by law.” In addition, inventors must guard against what is called an “uneven patenting effect” where one party utilizes a design covered by an invention while other parties develop an entirely different design. This can result in stiff penalties for the first party and damages for the second party. Because of this, an inventor must not only seek protection of their invention but they must ensure that it never becomes so protected that it results in the creation of an unauthorized product.